Girard: Taking matters into his own hands

Girard: Taking matters into his own hands

MANCHESTER, NH February 12, 2016–At-Large School Committeeman Rich Girard has posted a proposed Curriculum Management Plan to his Web site for public comment and feedback.  The document was recommended for approval in December by the Board of School Committee’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee.  However, on January 11, 2016, the board, which included several new members elected in November and a significant change in the membership of the Curriculum and Instruction Committee, referred it back to committee after several questions and concerns were raised.

It was on the agenda for the committee’s January 26, 2016 meeting.  At that time, the committee’s new chair, Debra Langton, raised questions about the proposed review and revision schedule.  Following that, committee member John Avard expressed concern about a few items relative to the role of the school board, teachers and parents in the process.  Girard, panned the entire document, criticizing it for failing, among other things, to involve parents, businesses, teachers and the community at large in the process of reviewing current and potential curricula.

The meeting can be viewed here.  Note the discussion on the Curriculum Management Plan begins at 1:40:00 and lasts about 24 minutes.

At the meeting on the 26th, the committee directed district staff to post the proposed plan conspicuously on its Web site and alert the media and the public to its posting through the district’s communications coordinator.  The committee also acted to arrange a public hearing to enter into a dialogue with members of the public who were interested in the document.  As an email from Langton to Superintendent Debra Livingston soliciting dates for a hearing was not, according to Langton, replied to, no date was set.  In fact, none of the actions directed by the committee were undertaken.

Discovering that at its meeting on February 3, 2016, the committee set a public hearing on the document for March 7, 2016 at 6:00 PM in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall.  It also, once again, directed the administration to post the document on the district’s Web site to solicit comments and to notify the media and public, via the communications coordinator, that the document had been published and public input was desired.

As Girard has yet to receive word, either as a school board member or media outlet, that the document has been posted and the media notified, he announced this morning on the Girard at Large Radio Show it would be posted to his Web site so the process of collecting public input can begin.

Please note that the hearing in March will not limit the public to just three minutes of time to speak and will allow for questions and answers between the committee and the public.